Photo by Jane Gershovich/Soccer By Ives
By IVES GALARCEP
When Chris Wondolowski took the field at Jeld-Wen Field on Tuesday night for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s Gold Cup opener vs. Belize, he did so with his name spelled wrong on his jersey. Be the end of the night, however, he had his jersey fixed and had done enough to make it clear that he plans on letting Gold Cup opponents know just who he is.
The San Jose Earthquakes striker delivered a first-half hat-trick to help the U.S. post a 6-1 thumping of Belize, and on a night when Landon Donovan turned in another stellar performance, it was still Wondolowski who sealed the victory and earned SBI USMNT Man of the Match honors in the process.
While his first goal was a simple enough tap-in of a loose ball, Wondolowski showed his trademark timing and fearlessness in heading him goals two and three just three minutes apart. His final goal summarized his night well. He made a near-post run and beat his mark to a perfect cross, sticking his head in for the finish even as the defender stuck his foot in to try and clear away the threat.
Wondolowski came close to adding a fourth on multiple occasions in the second half, which would have helped him tie the all-time record for USMNT goals in a match, but he never did add a second-half goal (a fact he just might blame on having his incorrectly-spelled uniform replaced at halftime).
Who was your USMNT Man of the Match on Tuesday? Cast your vote after the jump:
Who received your Man of the Match vote? See Wondolowski remaining in the starting lineup? Still not sold on him as an international option against top competition, or do you think he is ready to enjoy a breakout run?
Share your thoughts below.